Department of the Environment (Australia)

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This article is about the present-day Australian Government Department of Environment. For the defunct 1997–98 Australian Government Department of Environment, see Department of the Environment (1997–1998). For the defunct 1975 Australian Government Department of the Environment, see Department of the Environment (Australia, 1975).
Department of the Environment
Logo of the Australian Government Department of the Environment.png
Department overview
Formed 18 September 2013 (2013-09-18)[1]
Preceding Department
Type Department
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters John Gorton Building, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600, Canberra, Australia
Motto "to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage"
Annual budget $460 million in 2013–14[2]
Minister responsible
Department executive
Child agencies

The Australian Department of the Environment is a department of the Government of Australia charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage.[4]


The department is an Australian Public Service Department of State in the environment portfolio, under the Public Service Act 1999.[5]

The head of the department is the Secretary of the Department of the Environment, currently Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM,[3] who is responsible to the Minister for the Environment and Energy, currently the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP.


The department was formed by way of an Administrative Arrangements Order issued on 18 September 2013[6] and absorbed the responsibilities of the former Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSWEPaC)[7] and climate change from the former Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.[8][9][10][11]

Since formation, the department has faced significant cuts (25 per cent to be cut from the organisation's budget over four years), in line with the Coalition Government's environmental deregulation policies.[12]


The stated aims of the department are to achieve the protection and conservation of the environment; to ensure that Australia benefits from meteorological and related sciences and services; and to see that Australia's interests in Antarctica are advanced. The department develops and implements national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage.

Operational activities[edit]

The functions of the department are broadly classified into the following matters:[6]

  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Environment protection and conservation of biodiversity
  • Air quality
  • National fuel quality standards
  • Land contamination
  • Meteorology
  • Administration of the Australian Antarctic Territory, and the Territory of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Natural, built and cultural heritage
  • Environmental information and research
  • Ionospheric prediction
  • Co-ordination of sustainable communities policy
  • Population policy
  • Urban environment
  • Development and co-ordination of domestic climate change policy
  • Renewable energy target policy, regulation and co-ordination
  • Greenhouse emissions and energy consumption reporting
  • Climate change adaptation strategy and co-ordination
  • Co-ordination of climate change science activities
  • Renewable energy
  • Greenhouse gas abatement programs
  • Community and household climate action
  • Water policy and resources


The department and the following executive agencies and statutory authorities form the Australian Government's environment portfolio.[3]

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This list is generated from data in Wikidata and is periodically updated by a bot.
Edits made within the list area will be removed on the next update!

Article Established Field of responsibility
Australian Antarctic Division
Bureau of Meteorology 1908-01-01 meteorology
Director of National Parks 1999 conservation
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority conservation
Murray-Darling Basin Authority 2008 conservation
National Water Commission 2005
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust conservation
End of auto-generated list.


The department manages a number of major programs. The most significant of those dealing with natural resource management come under the umbrella of the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. Both the Trust and National Action Plan are administered jointly with the Department of Agriculture.


Divisions of the department include the Australian Antarctic Division, Supervising Scientist Division, Heritage Division, Parks Australia, Policy and Communications, Australian Wildlife, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Australian Land and Coasts plus a number of executive agencies and statutory authorities.

Environmental protection[edit]

The Department of the Environment administers environmental laws, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and a range of other Acts.[6] It is also responsible for Australia's participation in a number of international environmental agreements.

Islands administration[edit]

The department also administers areas of the Coral Sea Islands,[13] Heard Island and the McDonald Islands,[14] and oversees certain policy areas in Norfolk Island[15] and Christmas Island.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CA 9438: Department of the Environment [III], Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 9 April 2014 
  2. ^ Towell, Noel (8 April 2014). "Environment Department: Parks to pay their way, says review". The Canberra Times (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Departmental structure". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Home Page". Department of the Environment. Government of Australia. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Chart of 109 Agencies under the FMA Act (PDF), Department of Finance, 1 January 2014, archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2014 
  6. ^ a b c "Administrative Arrangements Order" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Department of the Environment". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Department of Industry". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Packham, Ben (18 September 2013). "Tony Abbott puts broom through bureaucracy". The Australian. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Abbott, Tony (18 September 2013). "The Coalition will restore strong, stable and accountable government". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Press release). Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Wilson, Lauren (19 September 2013). "Coalition carves up the public service". The Australian. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Towell, Noel (5 March 2013). "Up to 200 public servants to lose jobs in Environment Department". The Canberra Times (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve - Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Heard and McDonald Islands (HIMI) - World Heritage". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Norfolk Island National Park - Park Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Christmas Island National Park - Park Management". Retrieved 12 October 2013. 

External links[edit]